We were already impressed with Razer's DeathAdder gaming mouse when we reviewed it awhile back, which earned a 9 verdict and Kick Ass! award, so what does Razer do for a follow-up? Tweak it, of course!
The revamped DeathAdder now sports a "state-of-the-art" 3.5G 3500dpi infrared sensor, compared to the original's 3G 1800dpi optical sensor. Not a bad upgrade for super-sensitive gamers who might be able to notice the difference. And for those that can't, the redesigned DeathAdder also boasts a tangle-free braided cable.
"The DeathAdder is undoubtedly one of Razer's best selling gaming mice," says Robert Krakoff, President of Razer. "To date, the Razer DeathAdder has served the gaming community for a good 3 years and with all the advances in sensor technology, we put our sensor scientists and engineers to task to imbue it with the most precise infrared sensor in the world -- but at the same time maintain the specialty designed form factor that gamers have come to know and love."
The second-gen DeathAdder is available now direct from Razer for $60.
Recordable Blu-ray media has been expensive, and slow to catch on, but would a bump to 100GB capacities change your mind? New developments made by Sharp could do just that by introducing a blue-violet laser which is able to read triple-layer or even quad-layer Blu-ray disks. Current BD-R single layer disks hold a mere 25GB.
The light put out by the beam is much stronger than traditional readers at 500mW, and it is made possible thanks to an aluminum oxynitride layer that is located squarely between the laser’s crystal and dielectric film which is meant to protect the laser.
In addition to capacity increases, this could also allow for writing speeds of up to 8x across all four layers, making it a much more interesting archiving option for digital packrats. Prices and availability still haven’t been announced yet, but the company describes the technology as “production ready”. At the very least it would be nice to see a new affordable disk option come along to replace those aging 4.7GB DVD’s, which frankly, just don’t cut it size wise anymore.
Are you itching for new recordable disks, or is flash the future of the sneaker net?
According to a recent article by Network World, hackers have figured out a new technique to log your keys that involves either cheap lasers or power outlets.
The power outlet method works by keylogging the electrical impulses created with each keystroke, allowing would-be hackers to see everything you type, simply because you’ve decided to juice up your machine. However, you’re safe should you be running on battery power – and this is where the lasers come in.
The second method works by pointing a cheap laser, one that’s slightly better than a laser pointer, at a shiny part of a laptop. A receiver is then aligned to capture the reflected light beam, and record the vibrations that are caused by striking each key. The vibrations are then fed into a sound card, where “the vibration patterns received by the device clearly show the separate keystrokes.”
While I’m a bit skeptical of the second method (with all the different variations in keyboards, builds, sizes, and shapes of laptops, it’s got to be difficult to hammer out a foolproof system), they’re both something to look out for. In order to cover your back, it’s suggested that you “make sure there is no line of sight to the laptop, move position frequently while typing and pollute the signal by striking random keys and later deleting them with the backspace key.”
Research into the field of light powered computing has made some considerable strides as of late. Most notably, the science behind a laser powered hard drive has been more solid than ever before.
A laser powered hard drive would work on the principles of picosecond pulse lasers working where magnetic read/write heads would (something that was considered to be impossible until recently). Drives working on these fundamentals would provide a 1 TB/s transfer rate with their first generations, and others after that would reach speeds of 100TB/s and over.
Supposedly, this technology will be available within only five years, but like most laser technology, we’ll believe it when we see it.
When working with something called a quantum cascade laser, eggheads from Princeton University managed to discover a new type of double-beam laser not yet explained by existing theories, and the findings appear to prove the second laser beam to be more powerful and efficient than the primary.
Quantum cascade lasers are small and efficient sources of mid-infrared laser beams, with the conventional portion of the laser operating like those found in CD players. When enough electricity passes through, electrons enter a 'quasi-equilibrium state' almost entirely devoid of quantum momentum. It's in this state that they start to emit laser light in the mid to far infrared range.
While researching quantum cascade lasers, scientists discovered a slightly smaller wavelength, even though no existing quantum cascade theory of laser operations indicated that a second beam should exist. Because the second laser has proven more powerful and efficient, researchers are studying the technology at a breakneck pace. The mid to far infrared class of laser is useful in detecting minute traces of water vapor, ammonia, nitrogen oxides, and other gases that absorb infrared light, and the Princeton team says future applications could include air monitoring, medical diagnostics, and even homeland security. Rock on.
Recording to Blu-ray media looks to get a big boost from Sanyo, who announced the development of a new blue laser diode the company says is capable of burning 100GB of data in as little as 10 minutes.
Current Blu-ray media tops out at 50GB of storage space (dual-layer), but Sanyo's 5.6mm diode can emit a beam of 450 milliwatts, or roughly twice that of Sanyo's currently highest power laser for Blu-ray devices. The high power laser makes it possible to read and write data on up to four layers at a 12x speed. To put that into perspective, Sanyo says one disc could record up to 8 hours of high-definition content.
It will be awhile before the new diode finds its way into consumer products. Sanyo says it will be another 2 to 3 years before production takes place, and by then, who knows what the state of Blu-ray will be like.
Commercial wireless systems, which top out at hundreds of megabits per second, still have a ways to go before being on the level of optical fiber, which boasts tens of gigabits per second. Looking to close that gap, engineers at Battelle, a research and development firm based in Columbus, OH, have found a way to send data through the air using millimeter-wave technology.
Achieving faster speeds by harnessing the millimeter-wavelength frequency of the wireless spectrum isn't new, but it is both expensive and complex due to the equipment involved to generate the signal. Or at least it used to be. The Battelle team has taken off-the-shelf telecommunication components and, by modulating data on two low-frequency laser beams, has been able to create a pattern of interference that acts as a 100GHz signal (millimeter-wave technology operates on frequencies between 60GHz and 100GHz). By doing so, the team demonstrated a 20 gigabit-per-second signal in its lab.
While the research looks promising, a shipping product could still be years away. Putting the system together using existing components has helped to break through the cost barrier, but the new challenge will be to create a smaller device that's less unwieldy.
Is there no end to the laser's usefulness? From being mounted to frickin' sharks to popping a house full of corn in the 80s, the answer appears to be no. Fast-forward to today and lasers are now going to be found in television sets.
First announced earlier this year at CES, Mitsubishi's LaserVue series is being billed by the company as the world's first laser-power TV. It's also one of the more expensive sets for its size. Set to initially make its debut this month as a 65" HDTV, the LaserVue will carry an MSRP of $7,000, or roughly comparable to that of higher end LCD TVs of the same size. If you can wait a little longer and have an extra $3,000 to drop, a 73" model will be available in the fourth quarter priced at $10,000.
According to Mitsubishi, LaserVue TVs are capable of about twice the color range of non-laser powered LCD TVs, while providing a brightness of 500 nits, 3D viewing capability, and will consume less than 200W of power.